January 22, 2014

All the Smells of Home

A True Lebanese Speciality: Kaakeh كعكة عصرونية  Brings me all the Childhood Memories

"I want to conjure up all the smells of my home, lock them in a bottle, then take them with me wherever I go."

They say everybody has to leave their home for once in their life and come back so they can love it all over again for many reasons, new or old. Well, I want to come back to it, mainly because of all the smells I crave for smelling again. Label me a weird smell addict, which I truly am, considering my master’s concentration was in the sensory of food, including taste and smell.

Leaving my home was simply leaving my comfort zone, the place and people that I have been used to. For a year and a half, I learned profound life lessons on endurance, patience and strength.Enduring the fact that I left my close friends, and that I left all those special places where I shared exquisite, sweet, sad and funny memories; being patient to be able to fit in a new society and adapt with a new culture, and being strong to be able to stand alone.

However, I also lived in a constant agony and hesitation of returning back. I would constantly search for reasons that would make cling to this new place. Searching for something to make me fall in love with it and make me forget, or at least let go.

Just like a lover, I wandered the new streets and places to find such love, yet find none. I craved for someone or something to make me hold on and build new memories and dreams.

Yet, it was not just the places, or the people, it was the smell of home, the smell of the trees that I passed by every single day, the smell of the man’ousheh, the smell of the roasted turkish coffee from my kitchen’s neighbour, the smell of detergents coming from the laundry shop, the smell of the stones’ dust as the workers are drilling the ground. It was always the smell that was successfully able to bring me all the memories of my home.  It was always the smell of food, home cooking and restos/cafes mostly!!!

Back home,  It had been always my inability to suppress my olfactory senses. I would close my eyes, shut down my ears… but my nose would not be quick in responding. The smell would overwhelm me without realising it.
You are not lebanese if you dont eat /l
Shawarma  ! شورما
Lebanese Sweet: Knafeh كنافة .. My Favorite Eid Food!

Ackerman was right when she said: "Nothing is more memorable than a smell. One scent can be unexpected, momentary and fleeting, yet conjure up a childhood summer beside a lake in the mountains; another, a moonlit beach; a third, a family dinner of pot roast and sweet potatoes during a myrtle-mad August in a Midwestern town. Smells detonate softly in our memory like poignant land mines hidden under the weedy mass of years. Hit a tripwire of smell and memories explode all at once. A complex vision leaps out of the undergrowth." (Diane Ackerman, A Natural History of the Senses)

And so, like a hunter, I would scavenge for smells that resemble that of my home, smells that can bring back all those suppressed memories of home deep inside in my vortex.

I pass by a bakery, yet there is no fresh smell of the bread. I walk beside a group of people, in my attempt to find a common perfume, yet all I smell is an incoherent mixture of Agarwood ('Oud) and Chanel No. 5.

There are no trees in this arid land. Even the dust smells different. It is the dust from the desert. I rode a taxi amid the traffic jam, but the smell of the pollution was not as vivid as that back in my home. It was not suffocating. It was not awful.

I walk beside a global fast food chain, at least this one will replicate its smell over all cities of the world. Ironically, It was a successful attempt.

 If I can just try to conjure up all the smells of my home, lock them in a bottle then take them with me wherever I go.

However, I know all these smells from home…will definitely be the reason that will make me return home...maybe one day....

View of Beirut City as Plane was Landing 

**I have been invited to Read Wave for contributing with my writing and piece of thoughts.
& This was my first contribution.


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